All three oscillators can be mixed then together on the right side in a relatively simple audio mixer. The final result of the oscillators is than amplified and enriched in the dual VCA and distortion section. The dual VCA is here controlled by the ADSR envelope. The routing can be changed so you can put it before (PRE) or after (POST) the distortion. Unfortunately there is no direct access to the distortion effect here. If that were be possible, the sound architecture would be even more versatile in the timbres.
One of the things that distinguishes the MMO-3 from regular FM Synthesizers is the wireless modular sound engine. This already starts with the freely assignable shaper functions for each oscillator up to the flexible routing of the ADSR envelope. This routing freedom allows also to route one oscillator signal back to the first one. This gives users the possibility to create crazy wired sounds with auto-modulation or a feedback loop.
Although it’s exciting to have a flexible engine, programming these processes is a bit difficult. Since the synth has no display, one has little feedback whether it is activated or not.
An Interface That Is Very Different
The interface of the MMO-3 is different and refreshing. It’s blue and the board with the knobs is held by a wooden frame. The instrument doesn’t look like a mass product off the assembly line but has a very own design. The board is not held by a plastic or aluminum case but serves directly as interface.
On the interface there are 30 knobs for the individual features, small buttons that can be used on the one hand for the digital connection matrix but also as a 2 octave keyboard. Beside this, you can find a joystick that allows you to mix 4 modulation signals. Here you can select for every direction (up, down, left, right) a modulation source. This gives musicians an opportunity to play sounds more vividly. Even if an integrated two-octave keyboard is a very good idea here, it’s unfortunately very difficult to play with it. One notices clearly when playing that these are buttons and not a normal keyboard. It’s a good addition to the synth but don’t recommend to use for longer plays.
How to perform features on the synth is also very own and not comparable to other instruments. Although this is an interesting approach, the implementation is somewhat problematic. Since you get no real feedback from the Synthesizer if a function is activated, you have to rely on your hearing. A small display or an interface with changing colours would certainly help here.
The audio as well as MIDI connections are not placed on the back-side of this Synthesizer but directly on the blue interface. Here you will find a stereo in & out, MIDI input (note, velocity, pitch wheel, control change), analog CV in and Gate in. All parameters of the synth are also controllable over MIDI CC what is an handy feature for music producers and sound designers. On the backside, there is also a power supply input.
In addition to the audio output, there is also an audio input with which you can route external signals in the engine. This feature can be used in 2 different ways. An envelop follower connected to the left input can generate gate signals in order to easily synchronize the MMO-3 to an other sound machine. Beside this it’s possible to use the audio signal as a modulation source for the oscillator or the joystick. A video is attached that shows one way to work with this feature.